I'm ready to take over: Mujuru

HARARE - Vice President Joice Mujuru says she is ready to lead Zanu PF and Zimbabwe in the event that president-elect Robert Mugabe is gone, but will only do so if given the mandate by the people.

Mujuru told the Daily News on Sunday in a no-holds-barred exclusive interview at her Ruzambo Farm in Beatrice yesterday that according to provisions of the new Constitution gazetted on May 22, she is best-placed to succeed Mugabe if he departs whether by natural wastage or voluntary retirement.

“We know that the president will soon be 90 and God might decide to call him, he has taught us a lot and how to lead the party,” she said, adding: “Zanu PF will never die because president Mugabe is no longer there; there are people who now can lead the party.”

Mujuru said she has been hand-held by the former guerrilla leader since the days of the liberation struggle, hailing the 89-year-old leader for moulding her to be the “best leader”.

“I take President Mugabe to be a father figure,” she said.

“Since the days of the liberation struggle, he has always encouraged me to behave in a manner that makes me a leader. He has always told me that he wanted to make me a better person; that’s why I owe what I am today to him.”

Mujuru joined Mugabe’s first post-independence Cabinet in 1980 at 25, and was one of the longest-serving government ministers before her elevation to the vice presidency in 2004.

She was speaking to the Daily News on Sunday on the sidelines of a memorial service for her late husband retired general Solomon Mujuru whose remains were found after a mysterious fire on the 3 500-acre Ruzambo Farm, formerly Alamein, about 60km south of Harare.

A Zimbabwean magistrate ruled out foul play in the August 2011 death of the decorated retired army general.

Mujuru is now seen as the most serious contender to replace Mugabe, who won re-election in a hotly-contested July 31 presidential vote.

“He (Mugabe) has contributed to what I am today, even to the position I hold in the party,” Mujuru said.

After her elevation to the vice presidency in 2004, Mugabe said, “When you choose her as a vice president, you don’t want her to remain in that chair do you?” — a suggestion that Mujuru, could be the next Zanu PF leader after Mugabe steps down or is eliminated through natural wastage, or death.

As dramatic as her rise has been is also the rising star of her arch-rival Emmerson Mnangagwa, who touts himself as the president’s preferred heir-apparent, and according to his close associates he occasionally refers to himself as Mugabe’s “jinda guru” (top aide). 

Despite the posturing by the outgoing minister of Defence, Mujuru said she had walked a long road with Mugabe.

During the liberation struggle, even before I met Solomon, VaMugabe always trained me for leadership and to take life seriously,” Mujuru said. “He has taught me to be a responsible person and I thank him for that.”
Born into a peasant family in Mount Darwin, Mujuru dropped out of school and was 18 when she joined the liberation struggle.

She rose through the guerrilla ranks to become a commander. Her star rose after she single-handedly shot down a Rhodesian army helicopter.

The youngest ever Cabinet minister in the post-colonial era, she told the Daily News on Sunday that she was ready to take over from Mugabe “if the people chose me”.

“I did not impose myself to be the party’s vice president; I was elected by the people,” she said.

“In Zanu PF, we have a constitution and regulations that we follow. I deputise president Mugabe and I do so with the full blessing of the people and the party leadership.

“If the people ask me to lead them, I will definitely do so, but I will never impose myself to them because I know the consequences of doing so. If you blunder as a leader, you will regret as to why you imposed yourself on the people.”

Under the new Constitution, if the president dies, resigns or is removed from office, the first vice president takes an oath within 48 hours after, becoming president. The first vice-president assumes office as president until the expiry of the former president’s term and the second vice-president then takes over as first vice-president.

That dynamic has fuelled the succession race pitting Mujuru and Mnangagwa, with the two factions seeking to strategically position their cronies ahead of the inauguration of a new government.

But the widow of the first black army commander at independence said she does not lead any faction.

“Anyone saying I lead a faction within Zanu PF does not know how the party works,” she said.

“I belong to the faction of the  president and I support him as the deputy. I don’t fight to topple him  but I am there to assist him as his deputy.

“I don’t know any faction in Zanu PF, because the only leader we have is president Mugabe and anyone who has a faction, is just ambitious.

“Kana munhu achiti ane faction, he is just over-ambitious and hiding behind a finger to say there are factions in Zanu PF.

“People have to wait for their time and follow the party’s constitution. In Zanu PF, such people with ambitious attitude are labelled as vapanduki, kunonzi kupanduka ikoko  (Sellouts).

“If you hear anyone saying I belong to this faction, tell them that vapunduki and they are just ambitious.
“Anyone from Zanu PF who claims that he or she belongs to Mujuru faction of any other faction, is against president Mugabe and that person is not one of us.”

Reacting to the party’s landslide “victory” in the recent polls, Mujuru had no kind words for opposition leaders who have challenged the party’s victory. She described them as “unprincipled and inconsistent in their policies.”

“VaMugabe has taught us to be honest, principled and consistent,” she said. “Any leader should be as such. What we have seen in some opposition leaders is very worrying. They have failed to be role models."

“Look here I am a widow; I can’t decide to get married at my age because I have children who are looking up to me for guidance. I am a leader whose life is no longer private but public, there are so many youths looking up to me as their example, but some of the opposition leaders have failed to live exemplary.”

Several newly-elected Zanu PF legislators drawn from across the three Mashonaland provinces
attended Mujuru’s anniversary together with military generals and hundreds of party supporters.

A soccer match pitting the Mighty Warriors and Amai Mujuru with her grandchildren entertained the crowd, which also comprised business executives.

Clad in a brown work suit, Mujuru scored one of the goals which left the crowd amused.

Comments (25)

Teurai Ropa

Colonel - 18 August 2013

“I take President Mugabe to be a father figure,” she said. “Since the days of the liberation struggle, he has always encouraged me to behave in a manner that makes me a leader. He has always told me that he wanted to make me a better person; that's why I owe what I am today to him.” Yah and what are you today other than one of the many Zanu PF cronies who have grown fat from the rampant corruption and looting that have brought poverty and despair to millions! 33 years of brutal political repression, over 30 000 murdered in cold blood and through it all she was one of the most senior party officials and yet she never said a word! Sure, she is hoping to be president but will have no chance of being one, not if there are free, fair and credible elections. If she thinks Zanu PF will still be able to rig elections as it has done for the last 33 years then she has another thing coming! Mai Mujuru, open your eyes, Mugabe is struggling to gain legitimacy after rigging the last elections and his name is mud! The days of tyrants and rigged elections are over. You should be talking about all the wealth you looted and must now give back to the good people of Zimbabwe. You too must account for the blood of the over 30 000 Zanu PF murdered on your hands! Power corrupts and you, Mai Mujuru, absolute power has blinded you completely otherwise you would see the nation is sick to the back teeth of tyrants like you!

Wilbert Mukori - 18 August 2013

Her star rose when she killed RAF personnel. Interesting.

Ndabeni - 18 August 2013

Mujuru cited her failure to re-marry as on of the principles she was taught by Mugabe so that she is a role model to the youth. Mugayears old to 35 year old Grace after having fathered two children with her when he was still married to Sally. I see no reason to cite leaders in the opposition when her own mantor did worse things than opposition leaders.

Ziziharinanyanga - 18 August 2013

some how this does not sound appropiate. eitha VPhas bad advisors or power has gone to her head.sounding a bit arrogant and corky too. well time will tell

chenjerai - 18 August 2013

i mean honestly the President has not even been inaugarated and people are already talking about his death etc .i think this statement is in bad taste then you try hide your obvious amoounting impatience and ambtions by flattering Him.little power is dangerous hameno tichona kuti achatonga zimbabwe yacho ndiani?

chenjerai - 18 August 2013

Let me scrapping and the sumo wrestling begin.

Chiwadza investor - 18 August 2013

let the scrapping and the sumo wrestling begin.

Chiwadza investor - 18 August 2013

"Her star rose after she single-handedly shot down a Rhodesian army helicopter" - that is a barefaced lie. The Rhodesian airforce never lost a single helicopter. Teurai Ropa must have shot the helicopter in her dreams.

Muteswa - 18 August 2013

Hahaha

Chamukainyama - 18 August 2013

Honestly this woman is not serious, she is ready to lead who, in which country?makurumidza kumedza kutsenga muchada amai.munogoreva kufa kwaMugabe asi mune zvamurikuronga here.

Chamukainyama - 18 August 2013

You dont need to be inaugurated first in order to die. Anyone can pass on even before an hour or less to their much awaited inauguration so those that think readers shouldnt discuss the prez passing because he has not been inaugurated are way out of their minds.

SNIFFER DOG - 18 August 2013

All you have done madame is to write your obituary. But hang on it could be time to revenge your husband's death the General killed in Cold Blood. Perhaps its him that is talking and you are not aware of it.Maybe its time to hunt down his killers.

Squarebasher - 19 August 2013

ziziharinanyanga you left out something. old man did not just father the kids whilst married to sally but grace was still legally married to stanley goreraza and literally means that grace had the kids for mugabe whilst still muroora wekwa goreraza, how about that. they (grace and stanley0 devorced in 1996 but the kids were born between 1989 to 1993. ma1

magumoacho - 19 August 2013

As long as we have opposition leaders in the mould of tsvancry and his idiotic support base, ZPF will rule till the donkeys have horns.

reason - 19 August 2013

@Mteswa, either you were not yet born or you were part of the Rhodesians because where I come from more than 3 helcopters were downed in my own eyes.

Kollen - 19 August 2013

“If the people ask me to lead them, I will definitely do so, but I will never impose myself to them because I know the consequences of doing so. If you blunder as a leader, you will regret as to why you imposed yourself on the people.”

jemutiyasi - 19 August 2013

Aaah amai Mujuru, asi ndimi makauraya REX Nhongo? Saka mava kuda kuuraya akauraya murume wenyu kana kuti ndomaitiro enyu. Murimbavha. Murikuba gold namadiamonds ikozvino tinonzwa murikuba mupfana anoshanda muoffice menyu muchiti akuitei mukadzi. Hamunyari?

Kusvikazvanaka - 19 August 2013

This wasn't the message from amai Mujuru. Fabrication of stories.

Bigman - 19 August 2013

Taura hako iwe Kuzvikazvakwana nyaya yekuti varikudanana nemurume ari muoffice yavo yatendererera. asizviri kunzi kuvanza arikuroora kamwe kamusikana kaimbodana na Mutumwa Mawere. Mahumbwe chaiwo kuda kubata vanhu ve Zimbabwe kumeso, zvichabuda pachena gore rino

kamwemwe - 19 August 2013

Make money by following this link http://ThePaidTask.com/?refcode=77103

kuku - 19 August 2013

vamwe ndivo vachatanga kuenda mdhara aripo. ko munotyei kumuudza kuti chizorora mutongevo. tinyararirei apo nxaaa.

yaa - 19 August 2013

Majuru is as guilty of Gukurahundi as old man time Mugabe. She is second in Command and did nothing. After this Nikuc highjacking of the Elections, I swear there won't be another chance to rob the Zimbabwe people. The next Elections will be REAL elections and ZPF is e-in-the-water fellows!

Chivula Mapoti - 19 August 2013

Hey,hey all of you forget Mugabe will still stand again in 2018.he is stil strong enough.

lieta - 22 August 2013

I think the lady has made a serious mistake. She does not realise that it is a big insult to a dictator to suggest that he is a mortal like anyone else. But Mr Mugabe is not the angry one. His charlatans and his sycophants are going to torture her in order to have their allowances increased by the president. Just how reasonable people convince themselves that Mugabe is going to live forever is beyond human understanding if one is normal.

Chenjerai Hove - 23 August 2013

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